Upon our departure from Tokyo we headed back to Nagano to meet up with some members of Shinshu Community Church and show off our old home town of Saku.
After a 2 hour ride through the mountains of Japan, we arrived. Saku, is home to 200,000 people. A ring of mountains surrounds the city, yet it is known as one of the sunniest places in Japan. Despite the abundance of sunlight, Saku is a spiritually dark place. All around the city you will find various shrines and temples. Much of the city’s culture and heritage is rooted in these shrines and temples. It is indeed a very religious place, where the need for the gospel is ever present.
In Saku we met up with Rob Taylor and Yoichi Nagashima who are the leaders of Shinshu Community Church. On our first day we shared lunch together, while Rob and Yoichi shared with us about the church and Saku. After, lunch we visited the temple of the Dragon, located in Miyota and small town of Saku. During our tour of the temple, Rob and Yoichi explained the various meanings and religious implications. They also explained how the temple played a role in the local culture and what the gospel’s response is to the culture. After our tour of the temple, we took a tour of the city and made a few connections between what we had seen and heard.
The next day we joined Shinshu Community Church for Sunday worship. It was a wonderful experience to be able to worship together with our Japanese brothers and sisters. We sang songs in Japanese and we able to listen to the sermon as Rob’s wife translated for us. Afterwards, we shared lunch together and encouraged the members of SCC to continue striving on mission for the gospel in Saku.
After some tears we prayed together and boarded a train headed to Aichi Prefecture, to spend the night in the City of Nagoya.